The problem is that July is also Texas Hotter-Than-Holy-Heck Month (followed soon by August's You Thought July Was Bad? Month). Most really great ice cream recipes require serious stove time, as you prep the egg custard to get that perfect, silky mouthfeel. I have no real desire to stand over a hot stove for more than a minute or two right now.
So my challenge this month is to provide you with killer ice cream recipes that require little-to-no actual cooking.
Philadelphia-style ice cream (also known as American-style ice cream, and as opposed to French-style ice cream) does not use eggs. It relies solely on milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings. Unfortunately, many of my home efforts at Philadelphia-style ice cream have been, well, uninspired. Ice cream fresh from the churn is usually the consistency of soft serve, and without the custard base, it melts fast. It's best if you can "cure" homemade ice cream in the freezer for a few hours ... but with Philadelphia-style ice cream's higher ice content, that stint in the freezer produces a solid rock.
In short, in my experience, with Philly ice cream you have to choose between "almost melted" and "frozen solid." There's just no in between.
Enter stabilizers ... with custard-based ice creams, the stabilizer is the eggs. You can also stabilize the base with cornstarch or arrowroot powder (both require a little cooking, but not as much as the eggs). But there's a magic stabilizer that requires no cooking at all: xanthan gum.
What? Is that some weird chemical? No, not at all. It's a natural sugar that is, well, magic. Because it's used to provide volume and texture to gluten-free baked goods, it's also pretty widely available these days.
This luscious cheesecake ice cream (flavored with mascarpone cheese and just a hint of vanilla) is not too sweet. Macerated raspberries with just a touch of sugar are a beautiful and vibrant counterpoint to the smooth creaminess of the ice cream. Enjoy!
Raspberry Cheesecake Sundaes
|A sprinkling of sugar turns the|
berries into a no-fuss "sauce"
sugar (about 1 tsp. for 6 oz. berries)
1 pint half & half
1 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz. container, mascrapone cheese
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum
Combine ice cream ingredients in a blender and blend well. Refrigerate mixture overnight. Right before you make the ice cream, strain through a fine mesh sieve (to remove any lumps from the xanthan gum). Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. When it's the consistency of soft serve, transfer to a plastic container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressed onto the surface, and then with an airtight lid. Freeze for about four hours.
Meanwhile, combine raspberries and sugar. Let the berries sit for at least 30 minutes, until they start to release their juices. You can mash them a bit with the back of a fork.
Serve ice cream and berries in fancy dishes (because this ice cream deserves fancy dishes, and so do you!!).